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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Vocations Archives

Roy Bourgeois: “I will not be silenced” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The controversial priest who participated in a woman’s ordination ceremony last year is back in the news again — and continuing to stir the pot: A prominent priest whose support for women’s ordination has him in trouble with the Catholic […]

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Another diocese ordains its first deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

This item crackled over the wire last week while I was on vacation, but it deserves a resounding cheer from The Bench: Training to become a Catholic deacon took William Hisker from theology classes at St. Vincent College and into […]

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From natural resources, to supernatural ones: one man’s journey to the priesthood

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Denver comes this inspiring tale of a vocation that grew in rocky soil — literally. Take a look at this piece, in the Denver Post: Ron Cattany had a long, full career in natural resources. Next on his agenda […]

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A snapshot of America’s religious

posted by deacon greg kandra

This item moved on Thursday, but I haven’t seen much about it anywhere. Seems America’s Catholic religious are aging (duh!) but they’re also become more diverse: A new study of Catholic religious orders shows that their dwindling ranks are predominantly […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I’ve learned that the focus is on Christ anyway and we’re merely the vessels and instruments; and we’re here to help the people find Christ, like a mediator. I try to remember that its all about bringing the people to […]

Sea change: the sisters get some company at the Jersey shore

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph, from Chestnut Hill, Pa. (just outside Philly), and remember tales of the black-habit-wearing nuns heading to Cape May for their summer vacation, where they’d sit on the sand, in habit and […]

Inside one house of formation: “It is a work of hope”

posted by deacon greg kandra

More dioceses (like mine) are opening special residences, houses of discernment, for men considering a vocation. The Los Angeles Times this morning looks at one in the Diocese of San Bernadino: The morning sun has barely crept above the horizon […]

Little Sisters, big step

posted by deacon greg kandra

As promised yesterday, here’s the link to the story showing the Little Sisters of the Poor taking their first profession. It’s also available for viewing on our YouTube channel.

Father Blogger: meet some priests who blog

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Georgia Bulletin has picked up on a growing phenomenon: priests who blog. The paper has turned the spotlight on a couple local clergy — including one FOB (Friend of the Bench)— who are staying connected with the faithful through […]

Can we talk? How one man went from writing for Joan Rivers to being a priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

I finally got my print edition of the National Catholic Register this week, and this story jumped off the page: a one-of-a-kind vocation story that proves, once again, that God does indeed have a sense of humor. Take a look: […]

The naked novice: nun sues ex-boyfriend over revealing Facebook pics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another sign of the times. You can’t make this stuff up: A novice nun is suing her ex-boyfriend in Italy after he uploaded pictures of her naked on Facebook. The 31-year-old woman who lives in Turin said she was devastated […]

A culinary star whose recipes are second to nun

posted by deacon greg kandra

The culinary world has a new star — and it’s not someone on the Food Network. Take a look: Emerging from the quiet of her convent, Sister Anastazja Pustelnik was confronted by a jarring image — her smiling face on […]

Walking in Memphis, proudly

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last month, the spotlight fell on Atlanta, and its bumper crop of priestly ordinations. This month, it’s Memphis. From Rocco’s place: See, while a handful of dioceses have larger groups of seminarians, even the smallest of those are exponentially more […]

A father-son team at the altar

posted by deacon greg kandra

Periodically, I’ve posted stories of father-son clergy members, where dad’s a permanent deacon and the son is a priest. (I’d love to find that situation reversed — what a story that would be!) Well, here’s one more, from Florida Catholic, […]

The priest shortage hits the military — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The vocations crisis is sending ripples across all kinds of ministries — including military chaplaincy. Now the National Guard is feeling the effects: When patriotism inspired the Rev. Jerry Fehn a decade ago to serve soldiers in combat zones abroad, […]

Nuns near death: “We approach our living and dying the same way, with discernment”

posted by deacon greg kandra

We are finding, more and more, many members of religious vocations are growing older, and dying off. Now, those who taught so many of us how to live are also teaching us how to die: Gravely ill with heart disease, […]

A fisher of men: meet a priest among the herring

posted by deacon greg kandra

From a far-flung corner of the British Empire comes this sweet tale of an old priest who is remarkably self-sufficient: ‘I’m an old man of 85. I live on fish and potatoes – we grow the loveliest potatoes in the […]

A deacon’s son becomes a deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

An interesting bit of news from North Carolina, where a deacon is now the father of a deacon — on his way to the priesthood: After 10 years of discernment, Rev. Mr. Richard Sutter took a step closer to serving […]

“Jesus Calls Women”: a new vocations DVD

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s a good way to attract women to the religious life? How about this DVD: A San Bernardino Catholic production company is using DVDs to address a vexing problem for the Catholic Church: a severe and growing shortage of nuns. […]

An airport chaplain offers mass on the fly

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is a busy travel weekend, but people passing through many airports across the country can find a quiet corner to stop and reflect and pray. (No, I’m not talking about Cinnabon or Hudson News.) Meet the priest who ministers […]

Just try to watch this and not be moved

posted by deacon greg kandra

I mentioned this video here. But take 10 minutes out of your day, and see it for yourself. I guarantee: you’ll feel a little bit better about vocations and, just maybe, the state of the world in general. A grateful […]

One priest’s day off

posted by deacon greg kandra

Catholic News Service is running a series of reflections for the Year for Priests, and this caught my eye: one pastor’s brief outline of his “day off.” Take a look: This, in fact, was how yesterday went. It started at […]

A trio grows in Brooklyn: meet my diocese’s newest priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

A special “Deacon’s Bench” shoutout this Monday to the three men who were ordained priests for the Diocese of Brooklyn on Saturday: Fr. Tom Shepanzyk, Fr. Robert Mucci and Fr. Daniel Champoli. Ad multos annos, brothers! Meet them and hear […]

“How do I know what God wants me to do?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s a question as old as time, and it’s the first question posed in the video below. This lovely meditation on monasticism offers ample food for thought as we begin the Year for Priests. Enjoy. And a grateful h/t to […]

“The words he wanted on his headstone are those he lived by each day: ‘parish priest’.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: a heartfelt appreciation in a Boston paper for a man who evidently touched many lives. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the Year for Priests than with this remembrance […]

First military chaplain seriously wounded in Iraq dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sad news out of Minnesota, with word that Fr. Tim Vakoc, a chaplain wounded in the Iraq war, has died: Father Tim, as he was known, was the first military chaplain grievously wounded in the Iraq war. He was injured […]

What’s a consecrated virgin? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lino Rulli found out when he went out on a date with one for “Currents.” Mayhem ensues. Enjoy. UPDATE: You can hear more from the consecrated virgin Lino interviewed right here. She talks in depth about her vocation, and its […]

“Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Prayer for A Priest O Jesus, our great High Priest,Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest, Father [N].Give him a deep faith a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course […]

Being priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another superb vocations video from the creative minds who came up with this one in France. MissionUploaded by mavocation. – See video of the biggest web video personalities.

“Illegitimate”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the word being used by the Vatican to describe planned ordinations by SSPX. Details, from CNS: If the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X ordains new priests at the end of June as planned, the ordinations would be illegitimate, […]

Hooray for Hollywood: the cloistered nuns of Tinseltown

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not far from the studios and Spago, cloistered Dominican sisters are busily baking bread and praying for the world. Who knew? The Tidings offers a rare glimpse behind the grill: Since 1934, the Monastery of the Angels has been operating […]

Remembering ordination day: “It was like heaven”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the middle of ordination season, we should not forget it’s also the middle of anniversaries of ordination season. And Fr. James Martin is having fond memories of his own, a decade ago: Ten years ago today (that is, June […]

“There is no disadvantage at all of being deaf for a priest”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A couple weeks ago, I posted the item about Boston’s new deaf priest. And recently the Religion News Service caught up with Fr. Shawn Carey to ask him a few questions about his singular vocation. They exchanged some Q&A emails […]

Year for Priests: the website

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can’t wait for the Year for Priests to get started? The USCCB is one step ahead of you: The U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations has set up a Web site to mark the Year for Priests, […]

The son of a deacon receives five sacraments at one parish

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s something that doesn’t happen all that often, but it just did in Washington, DC: a man ordained to the priesthood received his fifth sacrament at one church. From the Catholic Standard: For Father Andrew Davy, it seemed only fitting […]

A married priest helps end a Nebraska vocations drought

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some interesting news from the heartland today: After a five year drought where the Grand Island Catholic Diocese did not ordain a single new priest, Friday they ordained three — including the state’s first married priest. It was with nervous […]

“Our life as monks is not set up to sit around and answer phones”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Many readers may be familiar with Laser Monks, the innovative and popular ministry of some Trappists out in Wisconsin. Now, the New York Times looks at the lay women who make that ministry hum: At the ringing of a bowl-shaped […]

A father’s blessing

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of Miami’s newly ordained priests, Father Randall Mussellman, is shown above offering his first blessing to his two daughters. If that sounds a little out-of-the-ordinary, so is his story: Born in Indiana, he was raised a Baptist and studied […]

The way we were: the ordination class of ’69 looks back

posted by deacon greg kandra

With ordination season upon us, the Buffalo News decided to check in with a group of men who were ordained 40 years ago. It’s a fascinating glimpse at “the way we were” as a church — and the way we […]

Newark ordains biggest class of priests in the U.S.

posted by deacon greg kandra

They ordained a bumper crop of priests in the Archdiocese of Newark yesterday — and with one interesting footnote: most were foreign-born. Take a look: The Archdiocese of Newark ordained 13 priests yesterday, a number believed to be the highest […]

The Dodgers may have left, but Brooklyn does have The Deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just in, from beautiful downtown Brooklyn: a first glimpse at the newest of New York’s deacons, the class of 2009. Below, scenes from an ordination. I’ll post a link to the Tablet article when it’s published next week. Meantime, […]

Cleared for takeoff: one man’s unique vocation journey

posted by deacon greg kandra

From St. Paul comes this great vocation story about a man who had his head in the clouds, but kept his feet on the ground: Renaissance man Deacon Douglas Ebert, 62, is moving on to a new vocation that has […]

The last generation of priests in Scotland

posted by deacon greg kandra

While Ireland braces for what some say will be a devastating report on sexual abuse by priests on Wednesday, Catholics in neighboring Scotland are confronting a different crisis. The country’s last seminary is about to close its doors. And members […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Luis Carlos Ochoa Tello, right, hugs his father, Miguel Ochoa Espinoza, after his priestly ordination at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington, Del., May 16. PHOTO: by Don Blake, The Dialog, via CNS

Positive signs: a new way of promoting vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Diocese of Little Rock has launched an innovative method of encouraging vocations: a “signing day,” similar to the kind that is common in professional sports: Three high school students signed letters of intent last week announcing plans to become […]

“I’m praying for you to be a priest”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With ordination season upon us, we’re hearing more inspiring and surprising stories of the winding road that can lead a man to Holy Orders. From San Francisco comes this remarkable tale of one late vocation: On the eve of his […]

Tim men: Dolan ordains his first New York priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

The new Archbishop of New York has rolled up his sleeves and gotten to work — and just a couple weeks into his tenure, he’s ordained his first crop of new priests. As in most dioceses, it’s a small group […]

Being both a Catholic priest and a Jew

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Israeli press is offering some compelling, and surprising, stories related to the pope’s visit to the Holy Land — including this one about three priests who were born Jewish: Father Gregorcz Pawlowski believes he can be both a Roman […]

World’s oldest monk dies in Indiana

posted by deacon greg kandra

This amazing news probably got little notice when it happened last week, but attention must be paid: The world’s oldest Benedictine monk died today at St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Ind. Father Theodore Heck, 108, died in the monastery’s […]

Habit-forming

posted by deacon greg kandra

Leave it to The Anchoress to capture, beautifully, the power and poetry of what it means to wear the habit, on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations: In the late 1970’s I heard a teaching sister say that the […]

Gentlemen, start your engines (and iron your albs)

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s that time of year again: ordination season. Soon, men will find themselves face down on marble floors, a storm of saintly invocations raining down on them. We have three men about to be ordained priests here in Brooklyn, and […]

Preventing a “eucharistic famine”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In an editorial this week, the editors of America are taking a hard look at a hard question: what can we do to alleviate the shortage of priests? With June bringing us the Year of the Priest, and this weekend […]

“Pseudo-ordination”– UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, there they go again. A New Jersey woman this weekend took part in a ceremony in which she says she was ordained a Catholic priest. From the Newark Star-Ledger: Last July, Mary Ann Schoettly was automatically excommunicated from the […]

How to kill a vocation

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new report offers some surprising — and troubling — insight into why a lot of young men had second or third thoughts about the priesthood: Conversations around the kitchen table may be more responsible for the shortage of Roman […]

Meet the priests: the ordination class of 2009

posted by deacon greg kandra

What kind of man would want to become a priest? Here are some answers: The ordination Class of 2009, with computer experts, refugees, marathon runners and second-career men, mirrors the United States today. The men from dioceses nationwide show that […]

Bracing for a busy Easter: one priest, six parishes

posted by deacon greg kandra

This weekend is an especially exhausting one for Catholic clergy — is it Monday yet? — but it’s more frenetic and harried in regions hard hit by the priest shortage. The Baltimore Sun has a case in point: On Palm […]

“Accept the challenge”: a great new vocations website and video

posted by deacon greg kandra

Check out this new resource for my diocese that just debuted Holy Week: brooklynpriests.org. The video is truly inspired. As one of the producers said to me, “We wanted it to look like a superhero putting on his uniform. Like […]

Joy

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader dropped the following note to Rod Dreher, and he posted it on his Beliefnet blog. It speaks for itself. Beautifully. (And it doesn’t hurt that the author evidently likes Merton.) Take a look: I’m a sophomore at the […]

Soldier, deacon, teacher, priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

This obituary from the Philadelphia Daily News caught my eye: it’s about a priest who was ordained late in life and, in a rare exception, served as a permanent deacon for a number of years before entering the priesthood: The […]

The story of a married priest: “Do you call him ‘Father father’?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ever since Cardinal Egan’s eyebrow-raising remarks on celibacy earlier this month, there’s been more discussion about a married priesthood. (Shameless plug: Part of that discussion will take part Sunday night on The NET, on a program I produce called “In […]

A father becomes a Father…at 80

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Canada comes this remarkable story of a permanent deacon being ordained to the priesthood — but like so many, his journey was unique: Growing up on a West Quebec farm in the 1930s, Gerard Lafreniere’s dream came to him […]

In the arena: vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

The latest episode of “In the Arena” is available online. This week’s topic: vocations. Guests include a seminarian, the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Brooklyn, a couple Little Sisters of the Poor, and, as always, the popular Elizabeth Scalia […]

The Boston three-party: one priest to oversee three parishes

posted by deacon greg kandra

An archdiocese that for generations had one of the most vibrant and celebrated Catholic populations in America is about to set a surprising precedent. From the Boston Globe: The Archdiocese of Boston, facing a growing shortage of priests but reluctant […]

I don’t know any priests who sing like this, do you?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I had the good fortune of having lunch a couple weeks ago with a fella from the Archdiocese of New York who also happens to handle North American marketing for Sony for the singing trio known as The Priests. These […]

Habit-forming

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest sent this my way — an interesting item from Fr. Z on the fashion statement of the priesthood (along with some mild criticism from the always-smartly-dressed pontiff). The original news story, from ANSA: Priests are under pressure to […]

Cool vocation ad watch

posted by deacon greg kandra

This evidently began running today in Kansas City. H/T to the Catholic Key.

Happy Anniversary, Frank

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest I know is celebrating his 30th anniversary of ordination today. This one’s for you! Ad multos annos!

Egan predicts “discussion” on celibacy

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I think it’s going to be looked at, and I am not so sure it wouldn’t be a good idea to decide on the basis of geography and culture not to make an across-the-board determination.” — Retiring New York Cardinal […]

A priest who stirs the pot

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of priests know their way around a kitchen, but the Washington Post this week profiled one who is turning it into his own little apostolate. Take a look: Mass had been over only a few minutes and the […]

Vocations climbing — thanks to Africa and Asia

posted by deacon greg kandra

This bulletin is undeniably good news: The Vatican says the number of priests worldwide is slowly but steadily rising. The Holy See presented its yearbook filled with statistics to Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday. Since 2000, the number of priests […]

“The Colored Sisters of the Holy Family”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is the (nowadays) politically incorrect caption for the above photo, which shows an order of African-American sisters in New Orleans. As Black History Month draws to a close, you can find that and more at McNamara’s Blog, including the […]

“A guy’s guy” heads to New York

posted by deacon greg kandra

I missed this when it ran the other day, but this Times piece on Archbishop Dolan zeroes in on part of his appeal — and why he just might be very good news for vocations: The big recruiters talk about […]

Quote of the day II

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Part of our job here is to challenge guys to make sure they are not floating into the priesthood, to make sure they are asking the tough questions. So sometimes we say—as much as we hate to see a guy […]

“God had other plans for him”

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may remember the sad story of Deacon Adam Crowe, who died suddenly, just a few months before his scheduled ordination to the priesthood. A reader alerted me to this touching tribute from a local paper in upstate New York: […]

A seminarian boom: “A dilemma we’ve prayed for and worked for”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City — and they’re reporting a surge in seminarians there. This comes from the Catholic Key, the archdiocesan paper: Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey led nearly 700 voices in a round of “Holy […]

In the vanishing rainforest, disppearing priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

The diminishing vocations to the priesthood have had an effect not only in the United States, but in mission countries, particularly Latin America. Reuters takes a look: They avoid taking buses, make sure friends know their schedules, and rarely go […]

“The ministry of presence:” the deacon on the battlefield

posted by deacon greg kandra

This caught my eye over at the blog Roman Catholic Vocations: the story of a Canadian permanent deacon who is also a military chaplain: In an environment where death and brutality is inevitably part of the process, faith and religion […]

When a seminarian dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Diocese of Ogdensburg is grieving this week over the sudden death of a seminarian, Deacon Adam Crowe, who would have been ordained this spring. This tragic news hits especially hard in vocation-strapped Ogdensburg; Crowe was the only candidate for […]

Scandal at Legionaries? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

For several days there have been dark suggestions that something was up, and now American Papist confirms it: The Ex LC Blog is claiming that Marcial Maciel is being renounced as the spiritual founder of the Legionaries of Christ, at […]

“How did Jesus live?” Young Catholics look for the answer.

posted by deacon greg kandra

This impressive story about young lay Catholics in Washington was published several days ago, and I’m finally getting around to reading and posting. Take a moment and read what these kids are doing. It’s something. Truly. A snip: Now for […]

To serve and protect: police officers called to ministry

posted by deacon greg kandra

A surprising number of deacons in my diocese are retired cops — an indication, perhaps, of how deeply the call to serve others filters through every aspect of their lives. Now a paper in upstate New York has taken a […]

From habit to helmet: the sister soldier

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a remarkable tale of a nun who is also serving in the U.S. Army: She’s an Army captain, a Catholic sister and a doctor. Deirdre Byrne wears many hats — quite literally: a scrub hat when she’s doing surgery […]

A consecrated virgin captures her life in a blog

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled on this blog the other day: Sponsa Christi, which contains reflections from a newly consecrated virgin, a 23-year-old young woman who hopes to pursue a career in theology or canon law. (Above is a picture from her rite […]

When a deaf man hears the call

posted by deacon greg kandra

Up in Boston, they’re getting ready to make a little bit of history. From the Pilot: “You have five months and 26 days before your ordination,” a woman told Deacon Shawn P. Carey after Mass Dec. 28 at Newton’s Sacred […]

When you encounter life’s hills…skate

posted by deacon greg kandra

This delightful video shows an Australian Franciscan friar, Fr. Gabriel, using his own unique skills to minister to young people. There’s a lesson here, I think, for us all. (But shouldn’t this guy wear a helmet??) H/T Roman Catholic Vocations.

“I’ve never seen the meaning of the priesthood so clearly incarnated before my eyes…” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Shortly after I posted this item, soliciting feedback about how Jesus has changed your life, I read this piece that illustrated it, through the profound heroism and stoicism of one ordinary priest: Father Tom is one of the sweetest and […]

How has Jesus changed your life? This priest wants to know.

posted by deacon greg kandra

A retired priest who once worked at my parish — and who many years ago was pastor to the very first deacon ordained in the Diocese of Brooklyn — has asked me to spread the word about a project he’s […]

Seattle welcomes its first married priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

In Washington state, another married man has been ordained to the priesthood — and he chatted with the local paper about his exceptional journey: Tom McMichael had been a Lutheran pastor. The day after his ordination as a Roman Catholic […]

After 57 years, a pastor steps down

posted by deacon greg kandra

They don’t make many like this this fellow anymore: After serving as the pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Olyphant, Pennsylvania for over 50 years, Monsignor Stephen Hrynuck, 97, has retired due to health concerns. […]

They laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…you could lose your mind! Take a look at this picture of twin Jesuits: And read the unusual story behind them here. As the post points out: vocations really do run in families.

Where are the nuns?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A posting by the Catholic News Service looks at that question — and finds some intriguing theories: Statistics leave no doubt that the number of women religious has dropped sharply over the last 50 years, but there is an ongoing […]

Is a bad economy good for vocations?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s National Vocations Awareness Week, and out in Erie, Pennsylvania, some are speculating that the economic downturn could mean a surprising uptick in vocations to religious life: The Rev. Edward Lohse said it’s too early to tell if America’s rough […]

The dwindling clergy: it’s not just a Catholic thing

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you thought that the vocation crisis was just a Catholic problem, think again. This comes from the Erie Times News in Pennsylvania: Is there a Protestant clergy shortage? Yes and no. The answer, as in the Catholic Church, often […]

Vocation directors, take note

posted by deacon greg kandra

In Wichita — where the lineman, I think, is still on the line — they have an astounding 46 seminarians in formation for the priesthood. This, in a diocese with only 120,000 Catholics. How’d they do it? A priest, Fr. […]

The nun’s story

posted by deacon greg kandra

Few stories could be more poignant or tender than this tribute to a Trappist nun who passed away just before Christmas: When did Jeannie go to bed, not to get up again? I know she was there during the Chapter […]

Mourning “the flying priest”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Whispers, Rocco has posted a poignant tribute to a priest who died on New Year’s Eve, while trying to move a tree that had fallen during a windstorm. His name was Fr. Michael Kelly, 53, from the diocese […]

A Capuchin charts his own “long road to the priesthood”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The road to a vocation isn’t always smooth, or straight — and there’s a Capuchin friar telling his story in his own blog, The Long Road to the Priesthood. Now that story is attracting the attention of the local press […]

“There is God in this deserted place”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A friend sent me this link to a fascinating story about a small group of Vietnamese Trappist monks who have made themselves a home in the California desert: Long before dawn in the remote desert south of Barstow, the only […]

When the call on your voicemail is God

posted by deacon greg kandra

“My call to religious life, like that of many others, did not come in isolation. It arose as one among several good opportunities from which I could choose. I was not grasping at this choice as a last chance because […]

“It is equal in dignity to have either an elephant or a priest in the family”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times concludes its series on foreign priests in America by traveling to the other side of the world, India. In Tuesday’s installment, we find that one of the world’s leading exporters of priests is having second thoughts: […]

A father and son swim the Tiber — and become priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, this made me put down my coffee cup and go “Wow.” A father, a son, a conversion, and more. From the Times of London: In what is believed to be a first, a father and son, both former Anglican […]

“We sent missionaries to Africa, and now they’re sending them here”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Continuing its series on “priests without borders,” on the influx of foreign priests into the U.S., the New York Times today has this inspiring, poignant profile of one African priest who has settled in Kentucky: The Rev. Chrispin Oneko, hanging […]

Where’s Waldo? Probably in church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another married man, a convert, is about to become a priest. The local paper in San Angelo, Texas, has the scoop on a cleric named Waldo: Waldo Emerson “Knick” Knickerbocker, a married former Episcopalian minister, will be ordained as a […]

Priests without borders

posted by deacon greg kandra

Photo: by James Estrin, the New York Times The New York Times has taken notice of something many of us here in the U.S. have known for a while: more of our priests are not American. Here’s a snip: Sixteen […]

One man’s call: “You mean, people are actually doing that?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just before Christmas, the New York Times had a terrific piece on the good work being done by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s boys) in the South Bronx. Take a look: Hearing a knock at the […]

Wholly family: “Ordinary lives touched in a special way by God’s grace”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the Feast of the Holy Family on Sunday, the Catholic Standard in Washington has a wonderful glimpse at how one family aspiring to holiness produced two priests — one of whom is about to be ordained a bishop. And […]

“I am compelled”: a stunning vocations boom in Boston

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some very bright news during this dark season: vocations in Beantown are up. Way up. From the Boston Globe Enrollment at St. John’s Seminary has doubled over the last two years, a stunning turnabout for an institution that seemed to […]

Australia welcomes another married man to the priesthood

posted by deacon greg kandra

From our Down Under Desk, news of a married man (and convert) being ordained a Catholic priest: Former Anglican priest Bavin Clark, a married father of four, is to be ordained as a Catholic priest for the Brisbane archdiocese. The […]

The “Walking Sisters” walk away from their historic home

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sad news from the pages of this morning’s New York Times: Behind the red-brick walls encircling the Convent of Mercy in Brooklyn, generations of nuns have taught the illiterate, sheltered the homeless and raised orphans. They are known as the […]

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I am my own worst enemy. I have always feared failure in the vocation. But I know if I keep up my end of the bargain, I have no reason to believe that God is going to let me down.” […]

The remarkable journey of Father Kim

posted by deacon greg kandra

You would be hard-pressed to find a vocation story more surprising than this: a married man who converted, became an active member of his church, then a deacon and, after his wife’s death, was ordained a priest at the tender […]

On vocations: “There are rarely trumpets or midnight visions”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you want to know what it takes to be a vocations director in a busy archdiocese, the Cincinnati Enquirer today offers a rare and revealing glimpse: The Rev. Kyle Schnippel places his prayer book on the table and takes […]

Ireland’s surprising priesthood boom

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought vocations in Ireland were dead, along comes this surprising piece of news, from the Irish Times: IT IS “a myth” to say there is a continuing dearth of vocations to the Catholic priesthood in Ireland, the […]

“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Time for another great vocation story. This one comes to us from Louisville, where a young woman intent on having a husband and eight children (!) found her plans suddenly changed: Sister Michelle Sinkhorn, a Sister of St. Benedict of […]

The most happy fella…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…just might be your parish priest. Take a look at this list of America’s happiest workers.

Just don’t confuse them with “Judas Priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Could the latest music sensation in Europe be…three singing priests? CNN has a fascinating report about this trio at this link. The story: You could call them New Clergymen on the Block: three Roman Catholic priests from Northern Ireland who […]

The new vocations: “The church is being transformed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone worrying about the bleak vocations picture in the Catholic church might want to reconsider. It’s not as grim as you may think. Or so says a Catholic sociologist — and one reason for his optimism is (brace yourself) the […]

Like father, like son

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Back during Benedict’s visit to the United States, I wondered about the deacons serving beside the pope. Did anyone know who they were? Now, I have at least one answer, from the Catholic Standard — and his story is really […]

Waiting for the invitation

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There’s a shiny new blog on the block, A New Song, from a colleague of mine, Douglas Souza, who toils from time to time (as I do) for Liturgical Publications. Doug’s latest post is worth reading for a variety of […]

They call the CEO “Sister”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A business journal in Albany, New York has just profiled a “woman who means business,” and it turns out to be a nun in charge of Catholic Charities: Sister Maureen Joyce never moved far from her roots, but her benevolence […]

A heavenly Sheen

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For me, Fulton Sheen remains the gold standard for Catholic preaching — and his connection to the world of communications (notably, television) has always resonated with me. He also has a personal connection to my parish in Queens. In the […]

“The leadership of our diocese is not supportive of the permanent diaconate…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Of the nearly 200 dioceses in America, a handful still do not have formation programs for the permanent diaconate. That’s led to some frustration, disappointment and resentment. Case in point: earlier today, I got an e-mail from a reader in […]

Online searches for vocation information climbing

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

More heartening news on the vocation front: this comes to us from the innovative website VocationMatch.com, which reports a record number of hits, as more people seek information about religious life: Vision Vocation Guide and the popular VocationMatch.com website saw […]

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The good folks at Our Sunday Visitor have just published a special vocations section — and Your Humble Blogger is prominently featured on the front page. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.) The link will take you to the menu, where […]

Laser monks!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A lot of us have heard of them. Now, the Today Show has profiled them. They are the Laser Monks, Cistercians in Wisconsin who have turned their ancient way of life into a rich resource for everything from coffee to […]

Leap of faith

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, now for something completely different. From Florida comes this unusual story about a priest who has his head in the clouds: There is a variation of a well-known proverb that reads: “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is […]

The Wall Street broker who became a monk

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What could be more timely than this story of a financial broker who found life on Wall Street spiritually empty — and became, instead, an Orthodox Christian monk? Reuters has the tale: Brother Nikanor, a Nasdaq broker turned monk, advises […]

A Sunday without priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Alaska comes news — for once — about something other than Sarah Palin. It’s a dramatic move by parishes to deal with the priest shortage. This, from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Dubbed “Priestless Sunday,” next weekend will find parish […]

I see you in a black shirt with a white collar…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Conversion stories don’t come any more compelling or unusual than this one, about a tarot reader who became a Catholic priest: My earliest memories of the occult revolve around an near obsession with the TV shows “Bewitched” and “I Dream […]

Help wanted

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A story out of Massachusetts offers a poignant new take on the priest shortage. Reuters reports: The sign outside St. James Church in the affluent Boston suburb of Wellesley sums up Catholicism’s deepening struggles in the United States. “Still searching […]

The Church through the eyes of a young French priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anticipating the pope’s visit, a French newspaper last week published this interview with a young (30) French priest, offering his thoughts on the Church in his homeland, and on his vocation: Yellow banners boasting the smiling face of Benedict XVI, […]

A late call

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Statistics show that more men are entering the priesthood later in life — and now a paper in Illinois is taking a closer look at this phenomenon: In what he calls his past life, the Rev. Geoffrey Horton worked at […]

Whatever happened to Danielle Rose?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers may remember that last year I posted the inspiring story of a popular Christian singer named Danielle Rose, who was leaving a thriving music career to become a nun. Well, nearly a year later, we have an update, […]

Jilted for Jesus

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Italy, the home of Romeo and Juliet, now offers another saga of star-crossed love — with a decidedly religious twist. From the London Telegraph: An Italian man whose girlfriend left him to become a nun is holding a vigil outside […]

“My job is to make sure that people into heaven. What could be better?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a charming and uplifting piece, courtesty Roman Catholic Vocations, about a parish priest beginning his new assignment in Akron, Ohio: Catherine Paparella nudged her college buddy more than 20 years ago during a Mass and told him he had […]

Back-to-school boom at seminary: “Those rooms have been reclaimed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here and there, we’ve been hearing indications of an uptick in vocations. Now comes word that one of the most influential seminaries in Rome is welcoming its biggest class in more than a generation: The Pontifical North American College welcomed […]

The nun who kissed Elvis

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I saw this item last week in my local diocesan paper, the Brooklyn Tablet, and made a mental note: “Link to this.” And, of course, I forgot. But better late than never. It’s a fascinating glimpse at the celebrated starlet […]

“To grow in holiness, that’s what I want to do”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A fellow blogger sent his my way, and it’s too good and too rare to pass up. It’s the story of a teenager who is planning to become — are you sitting down? — a nun. From The Catholic Globe […]

Looking for vocations in the military

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has a high-profile priest (who is also the son of a deacon) who is planning to do a little field work in the months ahead. But his field will be an airfield. This comes to […]

Where were you in ’88?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Twenty years ago this week, a young man was about to drop everything and give his life to God. You can hear his account of that vocation journey right here, via NPR. If you find that tantalizing, you can read […]

Vroom! Meet the grand priest of the Grand Prix

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The gentleman pictured below has a special ministry to race car drivers in Michigan. (Perhaps he also enjoys a good game of checkers? Gotta love that stole.) Check out — ha! — his story right here: Before the big race […]

No one is born a priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The above vocations recruitment poster comes from the Diocese of Raleigh, by way of WDTPRS. Personally, I prefer this one, with the same sentiment.

There she isn’t: “Miss Sister” contest cancelled

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An alert reader picked up this tidbit and wanted me to spread the word. The much-bally-hooed (and derided) “Miss Sister 2008″ contest has been called off. From Reuters: An Italian priest who had planned an online “pageant” for nuns has […]

Coming soon: a married priest who will make history

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now for something completely non-political — and really, quite inspiring. America is about to get another married priest, but one unlike any other. From the Louisville Courier-Journal: David Harris never considered his conversion to Catholicism six years ago to be […]

“I’m far too busy to feel slighted that the priesthood isn’t open to women”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Another person has added her voice to the ongoing debate about women becoming priests — and it’s a rare contribution from a mainstream secular newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. This is from conservative commentator and editor Kathryn Jean Lopez : […]

Why are these men smiling?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I think we all know why. They look like they’re having a blast, don’t they? They’re Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (a.k.a. Benedict Groeschel’s merry band) and I saw this great picture over at The Anchoress. Visit her joint and […]

Lining up in Louisville

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some happy news from the Bluegrass State: the Archdiocese of Louisville will be adding 14 more deacons to its ranks at the end of this week. The local Catholic paper, the Record, has the news, for the record, including brief […]

“He completes me”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Diocese of Richmond just got its very first vocation that isn’t a priest, nun brother or deacon. Take a look: Fresh-faced and vivacious, Bernadette Snyder says she grew up in Virginia assuming Catholic girls like her either became nuns […]

“I feel we are tampering with the sacred…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Maryknoll priest who participated in — and preached during — the ceremony ordaining a woman has been called out to the woodshed. CNS has the details: Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois will meet Aug. 18 with the three members of […]

This old priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Call it the Energizer Vocation. With the shrinking number of priests, more men are being encouraged to keep working…and working…and working. My own pastor is 72. It’s not uncommon to find others in their mid-70s. And it’s rare to find […]

Priest concelebrates, delivers homily at woman’s ordination

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A deacon friend sent me this startling story, about a priest who took part in a ceremony ordaining a woman — and even delivered the homily: Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, long associated with the cause of Christian non-violence and attempts […]

Baltimore and the Legionaries of Christ: an update

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After weeks of sometimes high-profile controversy, it appears that the Archdiocese of Baltimore is cracking open the door to the Legionaries of Christ: Warned by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien that its closely held activities must become more transparent if they […]

“Seminarians learned from their parents how to live and how to love”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This story caught my attention for a variety of reasons — not least, because the event in question involved my old parish, where I served almost 40 years ago (gulp) as an altar boy. The archdiocese sponsors a special day […]

“I will fulfill my religious vocation in another way”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend sent this my way, and it’s a stunner. It’s a letter that was evidently written in 1995 by a nun who became pregnant after being raped by a Serb soldier in Yugoslavia. She is addressing her Mother Superior. […]

A prayer for priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Since this is the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, I thought it would be good to remember all our priests in a special way. I found this prayer online, and thought it was very meaningful: Almighty […]

Running for God with the “Iron Friar”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I posted an item on how too many priests aren’t fit — physically, that is. Now comes this nifty news item about a physically fit friar — the “Iron Friar” — who puts all of us to […]

How I spent my summer vacation: seminarian edition

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you ever wondered what seminarians do during their summer vacation — I know that has been on your mind, hasn’t it? — the Florida Catholic newspaper has this intriguing profile of how some men in St. Petersburg are spending […]

“Do not write off all women priests as ill prepared”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I got an e-mail the other day from a reader in Minnesota who took issue with this blog post, quoting Curt Jester (Jeff Miller) who said (among other things): “How comes the ‘women’s ordination movement’ doesn’t have any seminaries? They […]

Wisconsin welcomes its first married priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

While the world watches and wonders what will be happening with the Anglicans — and if we might see a small stampede of new Catholic priests with families in tow — it’s worthwhile to pause and direct our attention toward […]

“A sacrilegious parody of Holy Orders”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another group of women claims to now be validly ordained as priests — this time, in one of the most storied centers of American Catholicism, Boston. From the Globe: A group advocating for the ordination of women this afternoon held […]

Revolution: a player goes from soccer to seminary

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not uncommon to find men who turn to the priesthood as a second career, maybe in their 30’s or 40’s. But this is the first I’ve heard of a man doing it at 26, after a successful career in […]

A brand new priest blogs for Cardinal Sean

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve fallen a bit behind in my reading of Cardinal Sean’s excellent blog — my bad — but thanks to an alert reader, who has a new blog of his own (check it out right here), I caught this terrific […]

“What if God is calling me to be a priest?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

You can never know where vocations will come from, or how they’ll grow, as this story from a paper in Phoenix reminds us: Matt Lowry was starting out as an electrical engineer at Motorola and being nurtured for management. And […]

“Most priests live lives of heroic integrity”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s an intriguing piece out of Long Island, where a man is collecting interviews in an effort to repair the damage done to the reputation of priests: he sex-abuse scandal that broke in 2002 roiled the Roman Catholic Church and […]

Listening early for The Call: inside Brooklyn’s Cathedral Prep

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was surprised and delighted to see a brief article in this morning’s New York Times about Cathedral Prep Seminary in Elmhurst, Queens. By day, it’s a high school for young men; by night, it is used by the diaconate […]

Big news in Little Rock: its largest deacon class yet

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The diaconate vocation keeps growing by leaps and bounds — and this item from the diocesan paper in Arkansas confirms it: The Diocese of Little Rock has accepted 50 men to begin the diaconate formation process, making it the largest […]

Give us this day our daily workout

posted by deacon greg kandra

When was the last time you saw a physically fit Catholic priest? Jack LaLanne in a Roman collar? The Catholic News Service has taken notice and is offering some advice for the long weeks of Ordinary Time: With studies confirming […]

A new deacon: making room at the inn

posted by deacon greg kandra

In Massachusetts, there’s a great story that shows both the diversity and uniqueness of the diaconate vocation. The new member of the clergy is an innkeeper in New England (why do I keep picturing Bob Newhart?), and a convert, who […]

More on the Legionaries in Baltimore

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few days back, John Allen interviewed Baltimore’s Archbishop, who had some pretty stern words about the controversial Legionaries of Christ. I posted an item on it, and got some interesting responses. Allen has now published a follow-up in this […]

“Baby Priest Camp”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Now here’s an idea I can really get behind. It’s something referred to, only with a a little irreverence, as Baby Priest Camp. And it’s written about over at the blog “Gift and Mystery”, run by the newly ordained (okay, […]

Voice of the Faithful weighs in on women priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few weeks back, the Vatican decided to draw a line in the sand over the ordination of women as priests. Women who had been ordained illicitly and invalidly were to be automatically excommunicated. Now, Voice of the Faithful has […]

“Preach the realities in a way that our people are impressed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Priests, deacons and seminarians got an earful recently at a conference called “You Will Receive Power!,” focusing on how to grow in holiness. Juding from this account, it touched not-so-subtly on the topic of preaching, too: “I think that the […]

Charm City less-than-charmed by Legionaries of Christ

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the most famous — some might say, infamous — religious orders in the world is getting something of a cold shoulder from the Archbishop of Baltimore. John Allen reports, from this week’s NCR: Demanding what he calls greater […]

“He’s a great guy and a great priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the sentiment expressed below about a priest who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct — and has finally been cleared. I couldn’t agree more. I know this priest. He traveled with us to Italy on pilgrimage in 2004. I […]

War’s other casualties, the chaplains

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a story we don’t hear told often enough — about life as a chaplain serving the soldiers, who are serving us, in Iraq: On a recent morning, an Army chaplain, Lt. Col. Richard E. Brunk Jr., met with a […]

Buh-bye: women priests formally excommunicated

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Women who consider themselves ordained in the Catholic Church can now consider themselves not ordained — and not Catholic. Here’s how Reuters reports the news: The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests […]

What’s behind the rise in vocations in St. Louis

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How are vocations in your diocese? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting on the very good news coming out of that archdiocese these days — a surge in priestly vocations, thanks in large part to the efforts of the archbishop: […]

“I am brought to tears of joy with the thought of becoming a priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The day after Pentecost, there are increasing signs that the Spirit is at work. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh received an honorary doctorate from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe over the weekend, capping a week […]

More U.S. priests are older, foreign-born

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news shouldn’t be a surprise to most people in the pews, but it is awfully interesting: The age and nationality of many of the new priests to be ordained in the United States this year continues a trend of […]

Laity answering the call to Carmel

posted by deacon greg kandra

We spend a lot of time praying for vocations, but here is a vocation that doesn’t get much attention — but should. Like all religious vocations, it entails commitment and sacrifice and formation. From Florida Catholic in Tallahassee: Seven new […]

Say hello to the Cistercians of Ireland

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a nice e-mail early today from Ireland — where, wonder of wonders, there is a group of Cistercian nuns maintaining their beautiful and holy way of life. And they are tiptoeing into the 21st century. They have a […]

“The great secret for which I was born”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is how Thomas Merton beautifully described his ordination to the priesthood. Any man receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders would have to agree. And I suspect the fellow below is thinking that, too. He is one of the 29 […]

Will Benedict’s visit boost vocations? UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, in New York City, the answer seems to be yes. A reader sent this my way, from the New York Daily News: A clergy-starved Archdiocese of New York was facing a crisis – until Pope Benedict arrived. For the […]

Setting the world ablaze: anticipating World Youth Day

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone who thinks of World Youth Day as just a “Catholic Woodstock,” should read this inspiring account from the site of the next WYD, Australia: It was eight years ago in a crowded park on the outskirts of the Vatican […]

Oops

posted by deacon greg kandra

U.S. News & World Report has a good piece on the priest shortage that’s worth reading. It also has the picture above, which carries this caption: A priest blesses a boy as he prepares to receive communion during the Papal […]

Praying for vocations inside New York City’s seminary

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the stops Pope Benedict will be making this week is at the seminary for the Archdiocese of New York. And the New York Times has a compelling look at how vocations are doing there (hint: not great) and […]

Wanted posters for priests

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s no secret the Church is looking for a few good men. And it’s found some novel ways to recruit them. From the Kansas City Star: On the door of his room at Conception Seminary College in northwest Missouri, Adam […]

“God is awesome to work for”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the sentiment expressed by a vocations director in Florida — and what led him to that conclusion is described in this article from Florida Catholic, describing a unique tour of a nearby seminary: Christina Fischer apologized to her tour […]

“There are times you feel the Holy Spirit just needs a typist”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s something a lot of us can relate to: being brand new on the job and approaching your first big challenge. In this case, the job is being newly ordained — and the challenge is a little something called Easter. […]

Chrism Mass comes but once a year…

posted by deacon greg kandra

On Holy Thursday, I’ll have a couple of rare privileges in my still-new diaconate life. In the morning, I will join the other clergy at the annual Chrism Mass at our cathedral, and serve as deacon on the altar beside […]

Ireland’s “Year of Vocation”(s)

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Clerical Whispers, there is news about a “Year of Vocation” being trumpeted in Ireland — a place that needs vocations (singular and plural) more desperately than most of us can imagine. (N.B. near the bottom, a reference to […]

Touched by an angel?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those nuns who taught you in elementary school are now teaching science a thing or two about alternative medicine. Check out this item, from the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal: Here at the Providence Rest nursing home, which […]

Sotto Voce: “I have never so strongly felt the sense of aloneness…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Frequent visitors to the Catholic blogosphere will be familiar with the blog Clerical Whispers, run by an Irish priest who calls himself “Soto Voce.” Over the weekend, he posted a cry from the heart, which speaks, I think, for many […]

Nun were better: remembering the sisters of the ’60s

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some will remember the mid-20th century as the “brick-and-mortar” era of the American Church — parishes going up, vocations booming, schools clogged with children in uniforms. And nuns. Lots of ’em. I can still see them: the starched habits, the […]

“The number one challenge in vocations is parents”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A diocese in Florida is trying an innovative approach to vocations — targeting two specific age groups in one fell swoop. Florida Catholic has details: Church vocation directors say a crucial element of encouraging vocations is inviting young people to […]

Doing double duty

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you want to know what it’s like to be a priest in America in the early years of the 21st century, this piece from Pennsylvania may give you an idea: The Rev. Steven Palsa of St. Philomena Catholic Church […]

Coming soon: a diocese with only 65 priests?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Grim news from the American northeast, where the number of priests continues its decline, and where dioceses are taking some radical but necessary steps. This, from the Sun Journal paper in Maine: The number of Catholic priests in the city […]

On being a priest: “I don’t think I thought of anything else from the time I was 6″

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s wonderful when anyone reaches a 50th anniversary — in marriage or in the priesthood. Florida Catholic profiles a priest about to reach that milestone: Father Raymond Hubert, who will soon be honored on the 50th anniversary of his ordination, […]

What does Benedict have in common with the Blues Brothers?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Answer: they’re on a mission from God. The pope today released his message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and as the Vatican website makes clear, the theme is missions: Dear brothers and sisters, 1. For the World Day […]

Hugs and happiness for Atlanta’s new deacons — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Archdiocese of Atlanta welcomed a new batch of deacons a couple weeks back — and the Georgia Bulletin was there. The remarks by Archbishop Gregory struck me as especially vital, and necessary: Twenty robes and neatly folded stoles rested […]

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

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